Cheesy Ham and Turkey Chowder

Cheesy Ham and Turkey Chowder

When Thanksgiving is over and Advent has begun within a few days…

Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), in the Christian church calendar, the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas and also of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. In Western churches, Advent begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 (St. Andrew’s Day) and is the beginning of the liturgical year. In many Eastern churches, the Nativity Fast is a similar period of penance and preparation that occurs during the 40 days before Christmas. The date when the season was first observed is uncertain. Bishop Perpetuus of Tours (461–490) established a fast before Christmas that began on November 11 (St. Martin’s Day), and the Council of Tours (567) mentioned an Advent season.

britannica.com

(below: Next-door neighbor Mike carving the charcoal grilled turkey at his house. He cooked the bird in a disposable pan, collected the juices, and I made yummy gravy from it. I whisked a 1/4 cup or so flour into a cup of water and added that slurry to the pan- right on the stove- along with salt, pepper, and a drop or two of hot sauce.)
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Black Friday Breakfast Turkey Stack

Black Friday Breakfast Turkey Stack

This version includes the cheese sauce. Sure, we need just a little more gooey cheese the day after Thanksgiving. You know it!

Working ahead on Thanksgiving food is truly a happy, hearty, fulfilling, and filling part of my job as a food blogger. That activity usually includes coming up with something new to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s a fun occupation that keeps me, and, of course my husband Dave and the babies (see below), right on top of our game this week.

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Appetizer, First Course, and Side: Old Stars Shine Anew for Thanksgiving

Appetizer, First Course, and Side: Old Stars Shine Anew for Thanksgiving

Using this as an appetizer? Yay! Pair it with a California Sauvignon Blanc. Add some crackers or fresh veggies to the plate; there should be plenty of cheese to spread around. (Oh! Are those red pepper flakes on that cauliflower? Why, yes; they are!)

…scroll down to bottom for links to many things thanksgiving–crafts for kids, wine advice, music….

When it’s only a week until Thanksgiving, we can go one of two ways: bury our heads in the sand of the past and recreate each and every one of the holidays gone by — could do that with your eyes closed, right; would it be so bad? —or what about spend a little time thinking about trying, even learning something new–perhaps in the way of Thanksgiving sides? If you’ve been reading along lately, you’ll know I’m totally taken with the idea of a curated Thanksgiving. That is to say, a more dinner party-ish meal– not dinner party-ish as in fancy pants table settings or overly-priced sparkling wines served in frighteningly expensive flutes, but rather in a limited number of precisely considered, perfect dishes. Ok, just ones that taste good, not necessarily perfect-perfect. One vegetable instead of 6. 2 desserts in the place of the buffet of pumpkin and pecan lovelies. A beautiful meal, not an eat-all-you-can til you bust your britches buffet. Less cleanup. Fewer leftovers. More energy for a round or two of Hearts or to watch “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” that all-but-required Thanksgiving movie. No, no. Don’t start the Christmas movies, please. Even football is better than that. Give Thanksgiving its due, its own time. Let’s not mash our day of gratefulness all up into December madness.

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KIDS BAKING THANKSGIVING: Cheddar-Cornmeal Muffins (Gluten-Free)

KIDS BAKING THANKSGIVING: Cheddar-Cornmeal Muffins (Gluten-Free)

Thanksgiving Basics — Start Early Finish Late

Thanksgiving Starters, Soups, Sides, and More

Thanksgiving Baking

Thanksgiving: Gluten-Free and Vegan

While Thanksgiving seems like a lot to plan and execute, perhaps it’s the day we should, instead, plan on sharing the work and the fun. Someone brings only wine, but offers to help clean up or play a board game with the kids after dinner. Another spends all week baking grandma’s favorite pies and does nothing that afternoon but pour New Mexican sparkling wine–namely, Gruet. (No French Champagne on Thanksgiving, please!) There’s also the real possibility of skipping the pig-out buffet and planning a curated — and maybe more healthful — meal. Making it somewhat more dinner party-ish, we could think in terms of one vegetable instead of 4, two pies rather than 10 desserts, a single perfect potato dish, and maybe someone’s favorite aunt’s cranberries. Ok, you have to have stuffing. Would it still be Thanksgiving without twenty casseroles? You bet your little tom turkey it would. And could we talk a little less in the way of dishes and leftovers here? But of course!

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Oh-So-Easy Chicken Soup with Rice

Oh-So-Easy Chicken Soup with Rice

Looking for Thanksgiving ideas? Scroll down to the bottom of the post for links to More Time planning tips, scrumptious sides, turkey talk, holiday music, movies, and more!

I have no problem with making homemade chicken broth on days when I’m flush with either money or chicken, as well as time. It’s also my go-to if someone’s got a bad cold, the flu, or an on-going dauncy tummy.

Listen to the song “Chicken Soup with Rice” (Carol King/Maurice Sendak) while you read the post.

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Hold My Beer Slow Cooker Chili

Hold My Beer Slow Cooker Chili


LOOKING AHEAD TO THANKSGIVING


When cold snowy weather begins, there’s nothing like knowing you’ve got the makings for a big pot of something warm and hearty stored in the pantry and/or freezer. You feel downright rich. There’s a big sigh of relief. Everyone will be fed.

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Date Night Chop on Butternut Squash with Sage Mushrooms

Date Night Chop on Butternut Squash with Sage Mushrooms

Now faster and even a bit lighter than my older versions. Try this!

Looking ahead to Thanksgiving



I often cook thick bone-in pork chops for guests. In cold weather, they’re served with a creamy and decadent mushroom sauce on a bed of softly mashed root vegetables with a green vegetable or two on the side. Longtime blog readers and friends who’ve eaten at my table will easily recognize the dish that often looks something like this:

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Italian Sausage-Butternut Squash Soup with Tortellini

Italian Sausage-Butternut Squash Soup with Tortellini

I hope it’s cool where you live because it’s definitely time for soup. Of course it’s time for soup nearly any day of the year at my house, but cold nights and shorter days somehow find me bending over more often to pull out the soup pot. Just feels right or I need the exercise–one of the two. Perhaps one of the happiest things about seasons changing is how grateful we are to begin cooking meals perfectly suited to the weather. Think cookies at Christmas, grilled burgers come spring, pies in November, fresh vegetable salads in summer, or…soup in October. We sort of know where we are in life because of what’s on the stove–or even by what’s in front of the grocery store.

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Horseradish Pot Roast and Vegetables with Gravy + Vegetable-Beef Soup from the Leftovers

Horseradish Pot Roast and Vegetables with Gravy + Vegetable-Beef Soup from the Leftovers

There are no potatoes in this version, but add them if you like. I stuck with parsnips, turnips, carrots, onions, garlic, and Brussels sprouts.

Returning home from a week’s vacation is always a bit disconcerting. To begin with, there are the myriad elements of travel and all its interesting, but occasionally unsettling features…

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Tomato and Chive Yogurt Scrambled Eggs

Tomato and Chive Yogurt Scrambled Eggs

0 WW SmartPoints

Last post for a a couple of weeks. The blog, Dave and I are going on vacation. See you soon!

QUESTION: How many eggs do you eat in a week, Alyce?

ANSWER: As many as I can!! (Not really.)

It seems every year there’s a new answer to the old egg question, “How many eggs should I eat each week?” Just like several other questions about diet and health, this can be a confusing one. I refuse to let it be.

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